With the growth of DIY endeavours and emergence of the internet in the past decade, music videos have very much come back to the forefront.
With groups like Brockhampton banding together and pooling their skills, creating top tier music videos has become more accessible than ever. Alongside the lower budget films coming out there’s been a renaissance in dancing in hip hop and a trend of psychedelic elements seeping into many of the visuals.
2019 has managed to encapsulate all that and more and with the end of the year in sight we’ve curated our favourite music videos of the year.
20. LAVA LA RUE – STITCHES [TWENNYFOUR /BISCUIT]
The video feels like it captures a lifetime’s material in just over four minutes and the West London spitter’s endless creativity is front and centre in this piece.
19. Mura Masa – Deal wiv it Feat. slowthai
The second collaboration between the two feels like the love child of The Streets and Blur. slowthai demonstrates that brash, infectious energy that has gained him so many plaudits recently, dashing outside an apartment block in slow-mo. Thai likely has one of the most recognisable voices in music and paired with his wacky facial expressions ensures the latest cut has crazy replay value.
18. Blood Orange – Benzo
Dev Hynes aka Blood Orange highlights his fearlessness as an artist in his self-directed and edited video for ‘Benzo’.
Playing the cello for his aristocratic leader and frequent collaborator Ian Isiah, Hyne’s alternative universe is fluffy, vibrant and unapologetically weird.
17. Dababy – Bop
Dancing has long been ingrained in hip hop but in the last decade there’s been somewhat of a drought of quality moves in music videos. Dababy released his sophomore album this year and recently enlisted the Jabbawockeez for what’s described as a ‘Hip hop musical’ on Youtube. Shot in Paramount’s studio lot, the sheer perfection of the synchronised twists and turns is hypnotising.
16. Brockhampton – Sugar
Initially feeling as though it comes from the same world that Kevin Abstract’s ‘Empty’ resides in, ‘Sugar’ does not fit the mould of a traditional Brockhampton video.
The video’s steamy opening scene is interrupted by an invader from another planet and later we see Kevin stuck to the ceiling with alien goo. Most definitely their wackiest video yet.
15. YG – Stop Snitching
California’s YG came through this year with the anti-cooperation anthem of 2019. YG isn’t one to hold back as demonstrated by his Coachella performance for this song where he had 6ix9ine’s mug shots on stage.
The video is somewhat a more harrowing affair, with it detailing a failed escape from slavery.
14. Denzel Curry – SPEEDBOAT
Directed by Jaimie Sanchez ‘SPEEDBOAT’ is one of the most cinematic videos on the list. Set in Denzel Curry’s hometown of Carol City it details a potential pathway to a life of crime. Most interestingly the narrative runs smoother when played in reverse order, with one of the final scenes seeing a customer rewind out of the store.
13. Flying Lotus – Black Balloons Reprise Feat. Denzel Curry
A match made in heaven, Denzel hit all the pockets in a spacey instrumental from Brainfeeder head honcho Flying Lotus.
Denzel hasn’t been afraid to show his vulnerable side in recent times and the visuals for the latest collaboration with FlyLo nailed it in terms of illustrating feelings of despair and inevitable destruction. All shot in black and white, it’s a thoroughly cold piece.
12. 21 Savage – A Lot Feat. J. Cole
Shot in what looks like the mansion from season 1 of Donald Glover’s ‘Atlanta’, the video for ‘A Lot’ from 21 Savage illustrates that people frequently keep their pain concealed.
Directed by Kazakhstani native Aisultan Seitov, the video sees Savage show next to no emotion throughout a family get together, with the visuals cutting between seemingly happy members of the family to more harrowing and distressing images of them. It’s a jarring video but one that you can’t help but watch.
11. Tierra Whack – Unemployment
Leaving you feeling sorry for spuds, Tierra Whack’s video for ‘Unemployment’ is a curious number. Having released one of the most genuinely creative and interesting projects of 2018 in ‘Whack World’, Tierra Whack has upped the ante. The project which featured fifteen one minute tracks was followed up in 2019 with a perplexing but brilliant new video for unemployed.
10. Goldlink – U Say
Tyler, the Creator’s own visuals are so distinctively his. So seeing him exist in a visual world that is not his own is rare these days. One such instance is in the video for Goldlink’s ‘U Say’ featuring Jay Prince.
Directed by Santi, the video is shot from the POV of someone at an underground bar and sees the trio being saved by a priest throwing holy water, it’s chaotic in the best way possible.
9. Thom Yorke – Last I Heard (…He Was Circling The Drain)
Radiohead’s Thom Yorke created a very special short film with the help of Art Camp and Saad Moosajee for ‘Last I Heard (…He Was Circling The Drain)’. Comprising of over 3,000 frames illustrated by hand, it exudes a distinct feeling of disconnect – being surrounded by people that don’t understand. Art Camp experimented with clay sculptures and crowd simulations to create visuals deriving from “disconnected images from his (Yorke’s) dreams”.
8. A$AP Rocky – Kids Turned Out Fine
Early 2019 saw Pretty Flacko release sun-drenched visuals for ‘Kids Turned Out Fine’. The video’s initial dark colours are quickly illuminated after dropping a tab. On first inspection the video appears an ode to youth and the care free antics of Summer, but it slowly evolves into a more thought-provoking piece on enlightenment. Whatever you derive from it, the transitions are mesmerising and the colours are gorgeous.
7. Tyler, The Creator – Earfquake
In the first full exposure of his latest character IGOR, Tyler brought his alias to life through a bizarre talk show performance with a cameo from Tracee Ellis Ross. Flowing graciously in the wind, his wig then later catches fire as he laments an imminent ending of a relationship. It’s as ridiculous as it is strangely emotive, perhaps a reflection of much of Flower Boy’s musical output.
6. Lil Nas X – Old Town Road Feat. Billy Rae Cyrus
You know the drill with this one, the song is ingrained in the collective conscious of people everywhere by this point. ‘Old Town Road’ was almost unavoidable for large parts of 2019 and when the remix with Billy Ray dropped with special appearances from Chris Rock, Rico Nasty, Diplo, Jozzy, Young Kio, and Vince Staples you knew it was about to be a movie.
Whether it’s performing in a bingo hall, racing a car on a horse or transporting to a different dimension, there’s not much they couldn’t fit into this viral sensation.
5. Solange – Almeda
This self-directed piece is part of a full short film released alongside Solange’s fourth studio album. Commencing with a hallway full of women moving to Devin the Dude’s vocals, it later features synchronised movement round delorean cars in a video focused on empowerment.
The shades and colours chosen for the video match the dreary delivery on what is one of Solange’s best tracks to date.
4. slowthai – Doorman
slowthai is undoubtedly one of 2019’s break out stars and his insatiable energy is placed front in centre in the video for ‘Doorman’. The visuals illustrate a dizzying night out with the Northampton MC, getting tackled by bouncers, smashing bottles over their heads and giving several nods to Trainspotting throughout. A chaotic masterclass in modern music videos.
3. Powder – New Tribe
If you ever wanted to see an animated, visual representation of indecision over quitting your job then… eh here it is.
Borrowing from what feels like if you watched AKIRA after a few adrenaline shots, the video for ‘New Tribe’ follows the journey of a resignation letter following some indecision. Scooting down the highway opposition comes in numerous weird and wonderful forms and this coupled with the unique style of animation makes for a zany and brilliant video.
2. TOMMY CASH – SDUBID
Sometimes you just have to watch the video to understand and even then it’s still hard to wrap your head round it. TOMMY CASH has never been one to make linear, cookie cutter material and his latest video for ‘SDUBID’ is possibly his weirdest yet.
It features a human see saw, headless dancers and the Estonian rapper flying about on a wooden hover board.
1. FKA Twigs – Cellophane
Making a huge splash with her first track in three years, FKA Twigs shared the video for ‘Cellophane’ earlier this year. Directed by Bjӧrk video collaborator Andrew Thomas Huang, the visuals display a sense of vulnerability.
Referring back to the tough few years she had with her physical and mental health, it’s a candid and courageous video highlighting the power in owning one’s pain. There’s an otherworldly edge to the video and the ascent from earth to a heavenly plane and then to an underworld is simply stunning.
There’s a sense of fragility that is juxtaposed by FKA Twig’s incredible strength during her routine on the pole contributing to one of the most emotive videos this year.